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MotoGP: Why Lorenzo goes ‘too far’ during practice starts

“Jorge tries to make good starts, but he also does everything to make the bike wheelie or spin or whatever to set it up for the race”
Many times this season eventual MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was left shaking his head in frustration after a poor practice start, yet would make a perfect getaway in the race.

Indeed, all of Lorenzo's seven wins this year saw the Spaniard lead every single race lap.

The pattern of bad practice starts followed by a good release in the race seemed more than just coincidence. asked Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg if it was all part of perfecting his launch control.

“Yeah, you know Jorge is quite special in that area because he risks everything to make the wrong start in practice, so that it's quite 'bullet-proof' to make a good start in the race,” Zeelenberg said.

“For example he lets the clutch out too quickly so he can reduce the performance to what he needs for the race. He goes too far, so he can learn and bring it back. Then he is much safer when he does the real start.”

Asked why Lorenzo often looks frustrated by his practice starts, Zeelenberg added:

“He tries to make good starts in practice, but he also does everything to make the bike wheelie or spin or whatever so that we can try to find the best way to set it up for the race start.

“Many times he complains in practice and I say 'Yes, but you were on the dirty part of the track! We should not set-up too much for the dirty side'. Anyway, we get it right for the race.”

Getting it right is set to become harder next season, when the less-sophisticated single ECU will be compulsory for all.

An illustration of how advanced the factory MotoGP electronics had become, relative to the Open class system, could be seen by Valentino Rossi's launch from the back of the grid at the final round.

”Watch the helicopter view of Vale off the grid at Valencia and how he rode around the Open riders who didn't have the best launch control and electronics,” Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncharal told ”Straight line, throttle open. There is not much a rider can do. It really showed the difference in the electronics.

“So for sure Yamaha and Honda are going to go back from their present electronic level with the new ECU next year. And now they are a bit worried, but it will reduce some of what we saw at the start in Valencia. It should be closer and make the sport a bit more exciting.”

Tagged as: Yamaha , Lorenzo , start , zeelenberg , Poncharal

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December 18, 2015 10:48 AM
Last Edited 6 days ago

Well, I am a Rossi fan but I admire class wherever I see it, and there was nothing more breathtaking this year than Lorenzo's first laps when he was on song. It is not just the start actually. In fact, most times Rossi, Ianone, and Dovi were better than Lorenzo on the actual start, the first 200m. The real strength of Lorenzo, when he was on song, was his first lap. In fact his strength were THOSE FIRST THREE CORNERS !!! Absolutely magical stuff. The way he would trust the edge of his warm but not race hot tyres, trust other riders he was overtaking, often ON THE OUTSIDE, on that first corner and the rest of the first lap, was simply breathtaking, awesome, magical, even heart-stopping at times. For me he is one of the best ever FIRST LAP MotoGP riders of all time, and I include Marquez in this judgement.


December 18, 2015 11:55 AM
Last Edited 6 days ago

Codger: ZeFrenchAngle ......Can I just say....I always like your posts. I feel the same about Lozzer's first lap skills, reminds me of Casey when he was at his peak. The other thing is Jorge's ability to put in metronomic laps once he is at the front. These traits are why he is Champion....Rossi has neither of these skills.
Hi Codger, I liked your reply ..... until the last horrible sentence ! :-) I repeat : Lorenzo was quite simply MAGICAL on the first lap this season. But the fact that Rossi or Marquez do not have that skill, or the metronomic skill, does not make them lesser champions. Marquez was champion the last 2 years without running his races like Lorenzo, and, until Valencia, Rossi was leading Lorenzo who could not live with Rossi's pace in not just Rossi's 4 wins, but in Rossi's many second places to Marquez either. They all have DIFFERENT skills, and they are all great champions. One of them happens to be called GOAT ! :-)

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